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Life During Covid-19
By Ariel Goltche, Marketing & Communications Associate
July 31, 2020
At Citymeals, we care deeply about each and every one of the older New Yorkers who rely on us. What we provide is more than just a meal, it’s also vital companionship for our frail aged neighbors.
As New York City reopens, our recipients remain vulnerable to Covid-19 and isolated at home. A walk to the corner store is simply too risky. That’s why it’s essential we continue to check in and chat with them throughout this difficult time. Here are reflections from a few of them on life in New York City these days and how their lives have changed since the start of the pandemic.
“What’s going on is terrible, just terrible,” 94-year-old Millie says. She’s particularly heartbroken because her sister Yolanda – 91, herself – used to visit daily and bring a few essentials. Now separated by only a few blocks on the East Side of Manhattan, their get-togethers are impossible due to the virus.
“It gets pretty lonely here. I don’t have much,” she confides. The arrival of her meal means a small respite from her isolation and the joy of seeing a familiar face, connecting her to the world just beyond her door.
During his musical career, Arthur, who lives in Hell's Kitchen, paved the way for other Black Folk artists. Now 87, he has been living with HIV for over two decades. While Arthur has always had good medical care, he’s especially worried about Covid-19 given his compromised immune system. “Covid is worse than AIDS because it’s easily transmissible.”
87-year-old Fred lives in Midwood, Brooklyn, in the home he shared with his beloved wife, recently deceased. He recalls an influenza scare in his youth. His father often told the children to keep the windows closed. Now suffering from severe osteoarthritis, Fred is in too much pain to leave the house. Although he is worried about getting the virus, for now, he says “I’m alive and kicking!”
For Fred, Citymeals plays a big part in keeping him healthy. “If I didn’t have these meals, I don’t know how I would survive.”
Marie worked for decades in a nursing home caring for older people. After retiring, she got more involved her in her community and spent most Sundays at St. Patrick’s church – just a few blocks from her Upper West Side apartment. “It’s upsetting that I can’t go to church now. Everybody is waiting for it to open.”
Now 85, she suffers from cancer and diabetes, but has a positive outlook about the future. “I can’t complain because others have nothing. I have people like my Citymeals deliverer looking out for me.”
Raoul and his family survived the Holocaust and fled Europe for New York City. It was the worst imaginable experience. But now at 88, he’s living through a pandemic and says, “Never in my lifetime have I seen anything like this.”
Raoul occasionally has to leave the the safety of his Bayside, Queens apartment to visit his doctors. Other than these appointments, he does not venture outside, although he sometimes takes a moment to breathe the fresh air from his balcony. When his meal deliverer Shari arrives, they always share a few friendly words.
During these uncertain times, we are inspired by our meal recipients, who have had a wealth of life-experience and remain positive about the future. What lies ahead is unknown, but for Citymeals recipients, they will never have to worry where their next meal is coming from.